In a highly-anticipated speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, President Donald Trump called on Muslim leaders to join the U.S. in “stamping out extremism.” The President’s speech to leaders from more than 50 Muslim-majority countries at the Arab Islamic American Summit was delivered on the second day of his first foreign trip abroad.
“I stand before you as a representative of the American people to deliver a message of friendship and hope and love,” President Trump said. “That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world. To the nation that serves as custodians of the two holiest sites in the islamic faith.”
While making it clear he was “not here to lecture” them, he challenged the countries to joined the U.S. in “stamping out extremism” by cutting off the financing of terrorist groups.
President Trump announced the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which is committed to prosecuting the financing of terrorism. The council comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God,” President Trump said. “We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.”
The President also stressed terrorists must be condemned, not rewarded with more financing and support.
“Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values — to pursue a better future for us all.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will sign the memorandum of understanding in Riyadh.
“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” the president added. He stated unequivocally that the U.S. will stand with Middle Eastern nations in pursuit of our common security. His remarks drew a sharp contrast between Islam and the extremist ideology that Islamic terror groups promote, but made clear only one of them can survive.
“Terrorists do not worship God. They worship death,” the President added. “There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it. No accepting it. No executing it. And no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.”
Riyadh, which had a very strained relationship with the U.S. under Barack Obama, now rolled out the red carpet and embraced President Trump. The royal family of Saudi Arabia has long-waited a president with his aggressive stance on Iran, its arch nemesis across the Gulf. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz is counting on the new president to help him bring the about his vision for a new Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one which has a more diverse economy and western progress.
President Donald Trump in Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz signed a nearly $110 billion arms deal Saturday to help the Persian Gulf ally combat domestic and regional terrorism, as well as counter the threat from Iran.
President Trump ripped into Iran for spreading “destruction and chaos” throughout the Gulf region and the Middle East. His comments were echoed by Saudi King Salman, who declared, “The Iranian regime has been the spearhead of global terrorism.”
“That was a tremendous day,” President Trump said after signing the arms deal. “Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”
The arms deal is part of large, $350 billion economic packages between the ally nations. The visit was also aimed at forging greater economic cooperation to diversity the Kingdom’s economy beyond its vast oil resources.
U.S. technology and engineering conglomerate General Electric GE said it signed $15 billion in deals. Amin Nasser, CEO of national oil giant Saudi Aramco, said they will sign $50 billion of deals with U.S. companies on Saturday outside the scope of oil exports.
“If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then not only will we will be judged by our people, not only will be judged by history, but we will be judged by God,” President Trump said. “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people all in the name of religion.”
After spending two days in Riyadh, President President will travel to Israel, meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, then meet with allies at a NATO summit in Brussels and the Group of 7 wealthy nations in Sicily.
“With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed,” the President added. “At the same time, we pray this special gathering may some day be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East, and maybe all over the world. But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.”